DINING OUT: Marmont Steakhouse & Bar

by Walter Bender

Nestled in Olde City among the shops and clubs lies the Marmont Steakhouse & Bar, an unassuming storefront on Market Street that hides a very hidden treasure. I had the pleasure of experiencing the Marmont for the first time last week, and it will not be the last.

Speaking with Daniel Tyrrell (the General Manager of the restaurant,) we learned that the original restaurant was more of a small plate/tapas restaurant when it opened about 13 years ago, then changed to a steakhouse after about 4 years. Current owner David Chiavaroli purchased the restaurant about 4 ½ years ago, and the current format of upscale dining in a casual atmosphere was born.

Executive Chef Tim Bennett has prepared a great menu with surprising variety for a steakhouse. Looking at the menu, there is a nice selection of appetizers to begin your dining experience. Looking at some of the other tables, our fellow diners were enjoying such things as Crab Bisque, Baked Brie, and Mussels prepared in a variety of styles. Salads include a beautiful house salad (which my dining companion enjoyed greatly), a Tomato Mozzarella Salad with basil pesto (my choice, and delicious!), as well as the classic Caesar Salad or a selection of specialty salads of the house.

Main courses included a nice selection of seafood (Crab Cake, Lobster Fra Diavolo and a Salmon and Shrimp combo among others), lamb, chicken and rabbit entrees as well as a vegetable medley for the non-carnivores. From the descriptions in the menu, it would be difficult to choose among all of them. But, this is first and foremost a steakhouse, and the Marmont does itself proud in that regard!

The steak menu is varied, with a choice of filet mignon, ribeye, and New York strip, with other steak-starring options. My companion chose the Surf and Turf…a 12-oz. Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail combo that was magnificent, the steak cooked to perfection and the lobster butter-smooth on the palate. I chose the Filet Oscar, another Filet Mignon option with jumbo lump crab meat and sliced asparagus on a bed of mashed potatoes, with Sauce Hollandaise on the side. Again, the steak was perfection, the crab meat succulent, and the asparagus cooked slightly al dente…a wonderful meal. All of the steak entrées come in two sizes, with the exception of the Cowboy Steak (a 30-oz. monster of bone-in ribeye!) And, of course, there is the Chateaubriand for two if you enjoy the classic French style of steak preparation.

Desserts…yes, there are desserts, but I have to admit that neither my companion nor I could eat any dessert after this wonderful meal. Nor did it seem that any of our fellow diners have room for the sweets either. I would recommend that at some point you try it though…the dessert menu looks delicious, with the Caramel Apple Crème Brule in particular calling my name for next visit.

The Marmont is a charming restaurant and a great place for a pre-show meal, or if you need a break from your holiday shopping. The menu is great, service is very attentive and the restaurant itself is a comfortable place to relax and enjoy a drink or meal. There is live entertainment Tuesday through Saturday for the late diners or if you want to enjoy a post-show drink, and dancing on the weekends, as well as a late night food and drink menu and specials. Arden patrons can get a 10% discount on their meal, and there is a special coupon offer at their website, www.marmont.net. When you are in the city, take a stroll through Olde City and find this charming and delicious stop.

Marmont Steakhouse & Bar
222 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-1100

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